Liverpool 0 - 0 Manchester United: match report, result, how it happened
Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool dominated a Man Utd side that came to Anfield to stop the attacking play of their hosts while offering little at the other end, and left with a point.
Liverpool vs Manchester United: match report
José Mourinho's Manchester United strolled into Anfield stadium from a seat of superiority: joint top of the Premier League and with praise coming from all corners of the footballing world for the impressive performances seen to date this campaign. The visitors head back along the East Lancs Road with a useful point but that sense of superiority far from in tact.
Mourinho reverts to type
After last season's clashes between these two managers it seems almost naïve to have thought that the Portuguese manager would move away from his usual defensive set up, puff out his chest and take the game to a Liverpool side that has been struggling of late. But despite the warchest spent on strengthening his first team, and the positive start to the season, he didn't.
From very early in the game it was clear that Klopp's Reds would do what they love to do - keep the ball, press when without it, find gaps, create chances - while the talent at José's disposal was asked to block out the space and hope to take advantage of the occasional lapse at the back of the home side that no doubt would come their way. It could have worked but it doesn't impress.
United keep their distance with Liverpool
Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool have now won just once in eight matches, but this was a much brighter showing on a balmy Merseyside afternoon, with Joel Matip and Emre Can going close either side of half-time. But this second successive goalless draw between the teams at Anfield preserved United's seven-point advantage over Liverpool in the table and meant United fell short of setting their best ever points tally after eight games of a Premier League campaign, although they have now gone seven games without defeat against their eternal rivals.
It was not the celebration Klopp would have wanted on the second anniversary of his appointment as Liverpool manager and he currently has only one more point than his predecessor Brendan Rodgers had at the moment he was sacked. However, more dominant he could unlikely have imagined. The visitors closed up shop a la teams like Burnley and said "come and break us down if you can, Liverpool." They almost did on several occasions but in the end came up short.
Chance creation by Klopp's Liverpool
United's shackling of Liverpool's front three meant Georginio Wijnaldum found himself with space to attack and he tested visiting goalkeeper David de Gea twice in the first 15 minutes. It took a dazzling stop from De Gea to keep the scoreline blank in the 34th minute, the Spaniard jutting out his left foot to block Matip's close-range volley from Roberto Firmino's cross. After pinching the ball off Philippe Coutinho's toes, Mohamed Salah thrashed the rebound wide of the left-hand post.
Obliged to plough a lone furrow up front, United striker Romelu Lukaku endured a frustrating first half and should have been booked for cleaning out Joe Gomez with a late challenge. But he almost put United ahead against the run of play following a slick exchange involving Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, only for Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to parry.
Liverpool procured their second big chance 11 minutes into the second half when Joe Gomez's cross from the right fell invitingly for Can, who could do no better than hoist a volley into the Kop from six yards.
Still Liverpool came, still United resisted. Coutinho unsuccessfully appealed for a penalty after being caught by Ander Herrera right on the edge of the United box, while a lobbed cross from Firmino was just too high for the leaping Salah. Liverpool fashioned two last openings in stoppage time, but after leaping to meet corners from substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, neither Dejan Lovren nor Matip could keep their headers down.
Many will criticise Mourinho's negative tactics, and the United manager will bat it back as an ingenius way to gather points. We've been here before, and it seems we'll be back again...
Liverpool vs Manchester United: how it happened
Liverpool vs Manchester United live stream online: preview
It is often billed as the biggest fixture in the English game - between two clubs from neighbouring cities who enjoy a sporting rivalry dates which goes back longer than anyone can remember. Whether at Anfield or Old Trafford, there is nothing like a Liverpool v Manchester United for quality, passion, atmosphere and more than anything, pride – wherever either team might be in the table or whatever is at stake. This is a game which both love winning and hate losing. Both managers said as much in their pre-match press briefings. Visiting coach José Mourinho, telling reporters: “We want to face a big atmosphere, it motivates us – it’s beautiful to play at Anfield, an amazing stadium - if we could have that atmosphere every match, we would”.
In terms of form, the two teams go into the game on the back of contrasting performances and results. From what we have seen of Liverpool so far, all of their misgivings in defence over the past couple of seasons are still there – whether keeper Simon Mignolet isn’t communicating enough with his back four or if there’s a positional problem with the zonal marking system, Klopp’s team are still struggling with corners, indirect free-kicks and on occasion, throw-ins near to their penalty area. On the plus side though, they have looked breath-taking going forward. They are a sight to behold when they launch into one of their hell-for-leather, swashbuckling attacks; they can however, be a little wasteful in the final third. Another worrying trait is the team’s failure to kill games off when they’ve taken the lead – we saw it against Watford, Burnley and Sevilla. That is an area in which Mou’s United cannot be faulted – once they’re in front on the board, you get the impression it’s game over. Mourinho will have studied all of Liverpool’s foibles and will know exactly how to target them.
Conversely, United have looked a completely different side to the one which just about scrambled into sixth last season. The team sits second in the table, level on points with Manchester City and with almost flawless figures – six wins and one draw from seven outings and 21 goals for and just two against - a defensive record which apart from City, only Barcelona and Dortmund can boast in all of Europe’s major leagues. Summer signing Romelu Lukaku is in fine form, averaging a goal per game and all of that has seen United's self esteem blossom since the season kicked off. It’s odd to think that Liverpool and United were in the reverse positions at this stage last season but despite the Reds’ issues at the back and a supremely confident United in full bloom, as everyone knows, the formbook gets tossed right out of the window in this fixture…
And this will be the first game played in front of the Kenny Dalglish Stand, formerly known as the Kemlyn Road or Centenary stand, which has been renamed in honour of the man who many feel was Liverpool’s greatest ever player. Dalglish unveiled the stand on Friday, and there to witness him do it were former Anfield idols such as Steven Gerrard, Gary McAllister, Alan Kennedy, Phil Neal, Jamie Carragher, Terry McDermott, Robbie Fowler as well as United legends Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton amongst others.
Liverpool team news
Both teams have injury problems going into the game. Sadio Mané picked up a hamstring injury while on international duty with Senegal in the recent 2018 World Cup qualifiers. That means more opportunities over the next few weeks for Daniel Sturridge, Dominic Solanke and Wales youth international Ben Woodburn although Klopp will probably stick with his preferred trio up front today. Adam Lallana has returned to training after overcoming a thigh injury but won’t feature on Saturday.
Man to watch: Mohamed Salah. What a week it’s been for Salah. It was his injury-time penalty which fired Egypt into the 2018 World Cup finals and send a whole nation wild with delight. He is equally as loved on Merseyside by Reds fans. Industrious, creative, skillful, fearless and blessed with blistering pace – Salah always gives 100 per cent and those qualities have made him a Kop idol in next to no time.
Manchester United team news
Captain Michael Carrick misses the match with a calf muscle injury. Joining him on the sidelines are long-term casualties Paul Pogba who is recovering from a hamstring injury he picked up in September, while Marcos Rojo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marouane Fellaini are all nursing knee ligament injuries of varying degrees of severity. United have fared well in spite of those setbacks; Ander Herrera who was on the bench for the last game against Crystal Palace could start alongside Nemanja Matic in midfield.
Man to watch: Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian striker hasn’t disappointed since his 80 million euro signing from Everton over the summer. With the ball at his feet and in full flow, he is a menacing sight for rival defences and also highly effective in front of goal. He is the team’s top scorer on 10 goals – one goal every 81 minutes on average.
Liverpool vs Manchester United live: possible line-ups
Liverpool: Mignolet; Gomez, Matip, Lovren, Moreno; Wijnaldum, Can, Henderson, Firmino, Salah; Coutinho.
Manchester United: De Gea; Bailly, Smalling, Jones, Young; Matic, Ander Herrera, Blind; Mkhitaryan, Martial, Lukaku.
Liverpool vs Manchester United live enhanced betting odds:
The bookies can see this one going either way – or even ending as it did last time at Anfield, in a draw. There is not much difference in any of the odds. Liverpool are 16/1 to nick it 1-0, or 50/1 to post a 3-0 win while United coming away with a 1-2 win is at 45/1 and 40/1 for it to end 3-3. Mohamed Salah is at 30/1 to be the first scorer to be read out on the Anfield PA by the dulcet tones of Mr George Sephton while Alberto Moreno is at 145/1 to score at any time past compatriot David de Gea. Marcus Rashford is at 16/1 to grab the only goal of the game. Stranger things have happened in this fixture.